Jax Build Guide by Kirluu
Not Updated For Current Season
This guide has not yet been updated for the current season. Please keep this in mind while reading. You can see the most recently updated guides on the browse guides page.
Offensively Oriented Options
Defensively Oriented Options
Not Updated For Current Season
The masteries shown here are not yet updated for the current season, the guide author needs to set up the new masteries. As such, they will be different than the masteries you see in-game.
Hi there. Welcome to my guide for Jax, the Grandmaster of Arms, in which I will attempt at teaching you valuable lessons about Jax, and what he can do for himself, as well as his teammates.
Please note, that the build you see in the cheat sheet is merely a recommendation, and that builds can change depending on how a game is going, as well as what types of enemies you oppose, and even what champions are aligned with you in your team.
Now then, you're probably wondering what reason there could possibly be, for you to trust me, in what I say and recommend to you.
To that, all I can say is that I have experience with League of Legends - I have played more than 2600 normal games, whereas roughly 1460 are wins.
Additionally; I reached Golden rating in Season Two, just as a small benchmark, which I hope to improve upon in Season Three.
Below, you can see my Season Two ranked stats - bear in mind that the majority of those games were played with supporting characters, so it does not exactly justify my top laning abilities, however it does give validation of a general understanding of not dying too much over the course of may it be a short or long game.
In order to at least slightly justify my top laning abilities, here are my stats with the champion Garen, also from Season Two:
Pros / Cons
+ Insane damage output if played correctly
+ Amazing at 1v1 fights
+ Amazing mobility with Leap Strike
+ Can use Sight wards to his advantage
+ Can get out of trouble with Counter Strike
+ Efficient farming with Grandmaster's Might
- Easy to get carried away, and thus get baited
- CC can shut him down, if he's alone vs several
- Farm-dependant if you can't snowball
- Melee; Can potentially be zoned by ranged champs
- Rather vulnerable to burst damage
- Long cooldowns in early game
|_____||Tier 1 - I take 1 point in
, because it gives Jax both AD and AP whenever Ignite is on cooldown, and 3/4 points in
because the cooldown reduction can be vital in life/death situations. I don't take the 4th point because it gives me the ability to choose something else later on.
Tier 2 - I take 4 points in both Deadliness and Blast to unlock the physical and magical penetration in the next tier.
Tier 3 - I get the armor pen from Weapon Expertise (Befitting of Jax, am I right?) and the magic pen from Arcane Knowledge , since a lot of Jax's abilities deal magic damage.
Tier 4 - I take 2 points in Brute Force for the extra early Attack Damage to stack it on top of what we will get through out runes as well, providing us with a whole lot of AD in the early levels. Additionally I take the point in Spellsword , since it will give us about 12,5-14,5 (without and with Baron Nashor Buff) extra magic damage on each basic attack in late game, which is worth more than the 1 % CD we give up in Tier 1.
Tier 5 - I take 3 points in Sunder for some additional armor pen, which will come in handy when laning against your opponent, who is likely to have a decent amount of armor.
Tier 6 - Finally, I take the point in Executioner , as it is simply too useful to give up on, making it a tad easier for Jax to tear down prime targets.
Tier 1 - I take 4 points in
, in order to unlock
in Tier 3.
Tier 2 - I take 3 points in Hardiness and 1 in Resistance , since most top laners are typically based upon physical damage. If you should face someone with mainly magic damage, you want to put these points the other way around. In Blind Pick, simply take the 3 points in Hardiness.
Tier 3 - I put the final point in Veteran's Scars , which will help us look a little beefier in the early levels along with the posibility of it saving our lives.
Greater Mark of Attack Damage
Greater Seal of Armor
Greater Glyph of Magic Resist
Greater Quintessence of Attack Damage
These runes focus on a high amount of early game presence, as they provide you with a lot of AD to fuel your last-hitting capabilities as well as the damage on your Leap Strike and of course your basic attacks used to damage your opponent in lane.
The runes additionally provide you with early resistances, making you prepared to face both a physically- and magically oriented opponent.
|_____||_____||These marks will help you build up a lot of attack damage in the early levels, which will not only help you to deal more damage to your opponent, but it will increase the overall damage output of some of the combos that I will introduce to you later in this guide, along with making it far easier to farm minions, especially with Grandmaster's Might, which I will also go into more detail with later in this guide.||_____||_____|
|_____||_____||These runes are very much replacable if you know who you are going to face in the top lane. If you are playing draft pick (may it be normal or ranked) and the enemy has for instance a Cho'Gath and a Lee Sin, you can't be sure which one will jungle and which one will top - therefore going with these glyphs is the best choice - just in case that Cho'Gath goes top. When playing Blind Pick, these are also best, since you won't know who you will face in the top lane.||_____||_____|
Greater Mark of Armor Penetration - All your physical damage will penetrate the opponent's armor, rather than you having a high amount of attack damage. This can improve damage against champions, but will hurt your farming abilities.
Greater Glyph of Scaling Magic Resist - This is a good pick if you can tell that your laning opponent is completely physical damage oriented, meaning that you won't have to deal with magic damage until later, which will make these Glyphs stronger. In Blind Pick, however; you can't be sure, so therefore it's better to stick with flat magic resist in that case.
Greater Quintessence of Armor Penetration - Same as with the marks: Can increase damage against champions, but will hurt your farming capabilities. It is just a matter of preference in the end.
Greater Quintessence of Health - Will add some serious bulk to your early game, which isn't a bad thing. I personally prefer the damage over the survivability in this case, but it's one's own choice.
|___||___||Ignite is a great spell overall, as it will help you against opponents with healing abilities such as Rengar and Dr. Mundo (and more), as well as it dealing true damage, which can mean that an enemy flashing away from your final blow might still fall to your Ignite. Additionally the mastery Summoner's Wrath gives you some extra AD and AP while it is on cooldown, which is a great substitute for not being able to use the actual summoner spell.||___||___|
Flash is pretty much set in stone, but here are some other options that you could possibly go with instead of Ignite if you feel like it, although I would mainly recommend going with Ignite.
|___||___||This is probably the best substitute for Ignite if you really don't want to use it. Exhaust will make 1v1 fights even more of a breeze for Jax, and also make it easier to shut down primary targets in teamfights, such as the enemy AD Carry or AP Carry. It will not only make it harder for them to escape, but it will also lower their damage output, making it easier for you to resist their attempts of fighting back.||___|
|___||___||Many people consider this summoner spell completely useless, and I agree most of the way, but on Jax I can see it having at least a little use, since it gives you a healthy attack speed boost, along with ability power to buff up your Grandmaster's Might-procs.||___|
|_______||Relentless Assault (Passive) - Every time Jax hits an enemy he gains 4/6/8/10/12/14 % increased attack speed for 2.5 seconds. This effect stacks up to 6 times. Will still stack if his attack is dodged or missed due to blind.||_______|
|_____||Leap Strike - Jax leaps towards a target. If it's an enemy, he attacks, dealing 70/110/150/190/230 (+60 % of ability power)(+1.0 per bonus attack damage) physical damage.
Base CD: 10/9/8/7/6 seconds
Mana Cost: 65 mana
|_____||Empower - Jax charges his weapon with energy, causing his next attack to deal 40/75/110/145/180 (+60 % of ability power) additional magic damage.
Base CD: 7/6/5/4/3 seconds
Mana Cost: 30
|___||___||Grandmaster's Might is your ultimate, and thus your most important skill. You need to level it at level 6, 11 and 16 - no exceptions.||___||___|
|___||___||Leap Strike is your main source of mobility other than Flash, and since the cooldown is lowered by leveling it, you want to max this by level 9. Also note that the mana cost doesn't go upwards by leveling it. You start with it, to be able to combo-harass your lane opponent early on. Additionally it gives you another way to escape a level 2 gank from the enemy jungler instead of being absolutely forced to use your Flash very early.||___||___|
|___||___||Empower is a great spell which has many different uses, which you can read about in the previous chapter of this guide: "Champion Abilties", where a combo with it is described under Grandmaster's Might. You will max this by level 13, since it lowers the cooldown, but the mana cost doesn't go up.||___||___|
|___||___||Counter Strike is your final ability, and the reason you want to level it last is because the waiting time to be able to stun someone after first activation doesn't go down, and that the mana cost rises by leveling it.||___||___|
IMPORTANT! In some cases, it is smarter to start with a different ability than Leap Strike. Sometimes, you want to start with Counter Strike instead, since if you are able to intercept the opponents tries at poking you, you can activate it before their basic attack hits, and on the other end, you get to stun them for 1 second and get in 1-3 basic attacks on them, while you dodged theirs.
In order to get a good understanding of how to ward efficiently, I recommend that you read Panglot's guide on warding: "Warding helper - More than your eyes can see".
Since Panglot's guide is so well done and well explained, I will not bother to explain the efficiency of ward placement, however I will go through key ward placements for defending your top lane as Jax, as well as how they can also be used to Jax's personal advantage.
IMPORTANT! You can skip all these explainations and jump straight to the summary, if you don't feel that you need the explainations for understanding why each ward placement is better than the others.
Blue buff ward
It can sometimes be a good idea to place a ward at the blue team's Blue buff. If you're on the blue side, you can prevent the enemy jungler from stealing your team's Blue buff, or at least to disallow the enemy jungler to get away with it.
If you're on the purple side, you will be able to intercept a gank if the enemy jungler goes from base and straight to top river area, or if the enemy mid laner has just gotten blue for themself and head towards top afterwards.
- Note that this ward is overshun by the Baron Nashor ward, since this one also protects from river ganks. Therefore, you should only use this ward, if your team is particularly interested in stealing the enemy Blue buff.
Red buff ward
It can be a good idea to place a ward at the purple Red buff if you are on the blue team, since this will intercept a gank from the enemy jungler right after they have gotten the Blessing of the Lizard Elder to increase their ganking effectiveness.
Note that it can be dangerous to venture that far into the enemy jungle, since the enemy top, mid and jungler can quickly surround you.
- This ward is overshun by the Purple Wraith ward, and should only in any case be placed if you are on blue team, and especially if your jungler wishes to try to steal the enemy Red buff.
This ward is extremely useful in the way that it will let you know when an opponent is near your lane, setting up for a gank, however it will not give you much time to react if you happen to face an opponent with the power to initiate (for example Xin Zhao or Renekton). In such a scenario, you should look at other, better places to place your wards.
This ward is best in use for someone who is playing on the blue team, since it will alert you in good time, if the enemy is coming from their jungle.
- If you're on purple team, you will want to place a Purple Wraith ward to intercept ganks from the tri-brush.
Baron Nashor ward
This ward is by far strongest when playing on purple team, since it can alert you of ganks from the enemy blue, as well as ganks from the river.
- When playing on the blue side, this ward is still useful, but is overshun by the Mid River ward.
Purple Wraith ward
This is one of the more superior wards to place - especially if you are playing on the purple team, as it will alert you of the enemy jungler entering the top quarter of the jungle, wherefrom the jungler can gank you through Tri-Brush or from the Double Golem camp.
When playing on the purple side, you are completely covered from ganks by this ward as well as the Baron Nashor ward, unless you are pushing for the enemy turret in which case on can never be completely safe.
Take note, that even if you see the enemy walk into your jungle, and whether they are taking Wraiths or going up towards your lane, you can't know exactly when they are ganking without a Tri-Brush ward, so you need to just play defensively until you see them either leaving your jungle or ganking mid - at some time you can expect them to have recalled if you have seen nothing of them at all.
- If you are on the blue team, this ward is a bit less useful, and is overshun by the Mid River ward combined with the Tri-Brush ward.
Mid River ward
This ward will tell you if the enemy mid is planning to gank you, and if the enemy jungler is going to gank through River - this ward however excludes the possibility, when playing on purple team, that the enemy will go straight from their Blue buff to top lane - this is a definite weakness, but it becomes a foolproof ward for you, when playing on the blue team, since you will see the enemy jungler entering your jungle before possibly going from your Blue buff to top lane, meaning that you are prepared for the enemy jungler's arrival.
In order to summarize what we've learned from analyzing the ward placements above, we arrive at the following conclusions:
|Purple Team:||____-||When playing on the purple side, you will want to go with a Purple Wraith ward combined with a Baron Nashor ward. If you don't consider yourself able to keep an eye on the minimap often enough, then it's a good idea to get a Tri-Brush ward.|
|Blue Team:||_____-||When playing on the blue side, you will want to go with a Tri-Brush ward and a Mid River ward, to keep you safe from harm, again assuming that you are capable of keeping a constant eye on the minimap. If not, you may want to swap the Mid River ward for a Baron Nashor ward.|
By always carrying 1 Sight Ward (or preferably around 3) with you, you will always have a means of escape, provided that you have the mana and cooldown ready to use Leap Strike.
If you ward as you need to, for your teammates' and your own sake (laning), and then always keep an additional ward with you in case you need to slip away from a sticky situation, or maybe close the distance to a fleeing target, you will always be packed with more mobility than your opponents first feared.
Other than creating distance and closing distance, you should also look out for places where you can abuse the terrain to escape your foes, making it harder for them to chase you. Additionally, you can sometimes catch a fleeing opponent if they follow a route of which you are on the other side of the terrain on, thereby intercepting their path and striking them down.
Take a look at the video under the chapter Champion Abilities under Leap Strike, to see where you can jump over the terrain, and where you cannot.
Take note, that doing this escape with a ward and Leap Strike is a lot easier and a lot smoother if you use Smart-Cast, since it will take to 2 clicks(Place Ward, Leap) to escape, rather than 4 clicks(Choose Ward, Place Ward, Choose Leap Strike, Leap).
Gameplay & Combinations
In the early stages of the laning phase, you will typically start with Leap Strike, and I will now explain why that is. By a typical standard, you and your opponent will start out watching eachother intensely, and you will both probably get in a few lasthits without really touching eachother. You want to be the first to change that mentality, by being the first to open fire. This is something that you will accomplish by first landing a basic attack on your opponent while they are going for a lasthit, then you will immediately after Leap Strike onto them, and then do another basic attack. After this you will back off, they will have been scared a bit away, depending on how much damage they managed to deal back to you.
Basic Attack.. Leap Strike..Basic Attack
Other than this, you want to be able to take control of the lane - this will be easy or hard depending on your opponent, and if you're in trouble then you have to let yourself lose a couple of minions if it won't pay off to go for them. If you don't have early dominance, then you must create it upon reaching level 6.
Remember, when laning, especially pre-6, that you can use your Counter Strike to intercept your laning opponents harass with basic attacks. By dodging one or two attacks, and attacking them back (if the enemy minions aggrovate onto you, that will simply fuel your Counter Strike damage), and then you will attempt to follow it up with Empower making sure to reset your attack the best you can, and a Leap Strike if the enemy wants to back off after the 1 second stun. Follow up the Leap Strike with a final basic attack, and then retreat to farming minions. This is a great little fighting combo, which is relatively easy to get off against opponents who rely on basic attacks for damage and are melee.
- If your lane opponent is ranged, you can still do it, but you have to close the distance to your target with Leap Strike right after dodging their attempt at harassing you, then do a basic attack, reset attack timer with Empower and back off.
Counter Strike..Basic Attack.. Empower..Basic Attack.. Leap Strike..Basic Attack
This is when Jax truly starts to shine. This is when you can apply the pressure and hopefully take control of the lane. It will vary how much control you will have, but generally, you will want to be able to stand there farming, while your opponent doubts what to do.
This is when you will want to get to know some seriously effective combos that involve your ultimate, but before that, we must look at how to farm efficiently with Grandmaster's Might's passive procs. As a general thing (but which isn't completely accurate), you can think of the ultimate proc as two basic attacks in one. Use this wisely to farm efficiently, and lose as little minions as possible.
Because of Jax's mobility, you don't hurt too much from pushing your lane, as long as you take advantage of doing so. This means punishing your opponent if they try to tank out the minions before they reach the opponent's tower, and of course getting the gold from every single minion, whilst you constantly look for at opening to Leap Strike onto your opponent.
I have personally put together this short video, based on a replay of one my games with Jax, to give you insight in how you can efficiently farm your lane, with the opponent constantly fearing an engage. The video additionally shows how you can smartly abuse your ultimate procs to clear jungle camps more efficiently and faster.
Now that we've got the farming aspect out of the way, it's time to look at the combinations (or rotations, if you will), that we will be using after reaching level 6, in order to utterly beat down our opponent little by little.
Basically, we're looking at two different scenarios; one where your opponent has an escape like Renekton's Slice and Dice, and another scenario where we are dealing with a champion with very low to no mobility-options.
Basic Attack x2 (vs minions).. Leap Strike + Empower..Basic Attack (Ult-proc)
Basic Attack x2 (vs minions).. Leap Strike..Basic Attack (Ult-proc).. Empower
The reason that these combos are different, is that if the enemy has an escape of a sort, they will be likely to use that to get away from your engage. If they don't have an escape, and can only run, then you have the ability to get off more damage than otherwise. Remember however, that enemies without escape-abilities are more likely to fight back, so sometimes it's actually better to go with the slightly quicker and slightly smaller (but still great) harassing option.
In the video demonstration below, you can see how Kha'Zix is caused to panic-ping for help against Jax. Since Kha'Zix has an escape, the corresponding combo is used in this video.
Let it be known that these engages are only quite possibly if you are in a dominant position in the lane, where the opponent is sort of afraid to go for a lasthit.
If you should meet a laning opponent, whom you cannot handle too well, the best idea is to ask your jungler to kindly visit top lane to help you out a few times, until you can grasp control over the lane, from which point you can take things on by yourself, without the junglers help.
You want to be self-sufficient in your top lane, so that your jungler can concentrate on getting your ap and ad carry fed.
Now then, knowing how to farm as well as how you can take advantage of dominance in lane, it is time to move on to the post-lanephase timezone of the game. This means how you should act in teamfights, when to initiate and the alike.
In teamfights, the main thing to remember is that you should not be the one to initiate. Jax is great at what he does, but you should not overplay his role. Your role is to deal damage - not to tank and receive every bit of damage output the opposing team has to offer. You want to either initiate with your teammates or actually join a bit later than the one's who should be initiating for your team.
What you need to consider is that, if you die you instantly become useless to your team. You may be able to jump in and possibly even Counter Strike everyone on the enemy team, but that will still most likely get you killed very quickly, or make you too low for you to fight. This is what we want to avoid.
You are in your best position when a bit of chaos is going on, and you can swoop in and spend your damage output on priority targets; especially the AD Carry and the AP Carry.
While you benefit from being able to have your Relentless Assault and Guinsoo's Rageblade stacked up, by farming creeps in a lane, you are stronger when there is chaos - fighting in an open-spaced lane on the map is what gives the best overview, and that is bad for you, in terms of doing your job. For Jax to excel, we need chaos and we need panic. Therefore, it can sometimes be stronger to have a fight happen in a bit of a cluttered space, rather than in a wide open area. A good example is the brushes around mid-lane, since there are many brushes and many obstacles - you can use these to your advantage.
Using the environment to your advantage involves jumping from one target to another, and ward-jumping to jump over obstacles and the alike. It is difficult to explain exactly what you need to do in a teamfight, but the main thing I can tell you is:
As I said, if you're dead, you are useless to your team. By not dying, you will still stand a chance to go in and do good for your team in the middle of the fight, even if you were forced to back off earlier.
In terms of actual combinations, all you want to do is to use the stun from Counter Strike onto either threatening opponents or priority targets, and otherwise focus-fire these same priority targets. If you take out the main damage-dealers of the opposing team(in coordination with your teammates, of course - it's not a solo mission), their overall fighting potential will be severely reduced.
Always remember to use Empower to reset your AA-timer, and as often as possible, for the highest possible damage output, and use your Grandmaster's Might active ability when you can foresee big, combined AoE damage incoming from the opponent, since it gives you both defenses in terms of Armor and Magic Resist, but also reduces the damage of AoE-abilities against you. Remember that you can pop Grandmaster's Might while you are in the middle of a Leap Strike.
As an example of when to use Grandmaster's Might, imagine for example an Annie who has her passive stun( Pyromania) ready, and expectedly has her Summon: Tibbers ready. If you and your teammates engage on her while she is out of position, or just really want her dead fast, it's a good idea to pop your ultimate before actually reaching her, since she will most likely land the Summon: Tibbers right on top of you.
That's basically all you need to know for teamfighting, and here is a summarization of what I just went through above:
- Avoid dying too early in a fight - you are useless if you are dead.
- Prioritize dealing damage to the opponent's main damage dealers (AD Carry & AP Carry)
- Try to convince your teammates to make fights happen in smaller spaces rather than open areas, since it will make your job of not dying easier - not easy, but easier.
- Don't be afraid to spend your Grandmaster's Might while Leap Strike-ing into an intense fight.
|___||___||Doran's Blade is a really offensive item because it gives you little to no ability to make up for making a mistake. If you lose your first trade, and your opponent has brought potions, then you are already heading off of a bad start. You should only pick this if you're confident that you will dominate your lane from start to finish. It does give you fighting power in terms of AD and HP, so if you get it, you are looking for a fight relatively early on. If it doesn't work out, you are forced to port back, which is a huge let-down if you chose to start with this in hope of getting an early kill.||___||___|
|___||___||Boots of Speed and 5 Health Potions is your standard choice in a lane which you don't necessarily think that you will win uncontested, but where you think you'll need the sustain from the potions, but one you won't necessarily lose before anything has been said and done. In other words, they are your standard choice in a somewhat equal lane, although the choices below can sometimes be stronger, even in equal lane matchups. See the "Lane Matchups"-chapter of my guide to see what you should start with against which opponents.||___||___|
|___||___|| Cloth Armor and 5 Health Potions is a good choice for starting items against someone whom you know will pose a great threat in terms of physical damage output early on or even a bit later. An example of this could be for example Kha'Zix with his Q-ability Taste Their Fear.
It is worth noticing that it's especially a good idea to get this, if your opponent uses physical damage, and you know that you will be getting Ninja Tabi rather than Mercury Threads. Otherwise you can sell the Cloth Armor later.
|___||___|| Crystalline Flask is a new item, not to be underrated. It gives you 300 effective health and 120 effective mana every time you have been back to base.
Along with the Health Potions and the Sight Ward, this means a very safe laning phase for you.
You should pick these starting items if you don't think that you will be able to snowball at all in this lane - or at least not without the sustain from these starting items.
These items are a strong choice vs. ranged opponents and opponents with ranged magic damage abilities, since they can sometimes be hard to lane against otherwise. Note, that you should not avoid trying to get the better of such opponents - now you have the sustain to be able to take a beating in a trade, while - unless they also started with Crystalline Flask - they will not have any kind of match-able sustain in the beginning of the laning phase. You should still be smart about it however - you can still die, even if you have sustain, since the sustain takes time to take effect.
||___||Getting two early Doran's Blades will severely increase your fighting capabilties early on in the game, as they will buff up your health pool by a decent bit (even though they were nerfed in that department), but more importantly it gives you more stats in one item early in the game than anything else. It is for example far more cost efficient than getting a Long Sword and a Ruby Crystal. Additionally, the small amount of health you get back on each basic attack will also ever so slightly help you in laning, even if you don't notice it making much of a difference.||___||
|___||___||Sort of self-explanatorily, getting Boots of Speed early is vital for your laning, since it makes it easier to close the distance to your lane opponent, so that you can engage on them. Naturally, they will also let you get to your lane, and whereever you might otherwise need to go a little faster, as well as being able to run backwards, in order to perhaps Leap Strike to a friendly minion, in order to avoid an intercepted gank.||___||___|
|___||Sight Ward||___||The Sight Ward is a vital tool for Jax, and as such, you basically always want to have one on you. In laning phase, it's a bit less important, but having a ward more than you need in your baggage when leaving your spawn pool, is always going to be nothing but an advantage to you, so whenever you can spare the gold, you should bring 3 Sight Wards in lane with you, so that you can protectively ward yourself, and also have an escape-ward ready.||___||Sight Ward||___|
|___||___||This early Pickaxe will grant you a good amount of AD to further boost your damage in the early minutes of the game - and it doesn't take too much to save up, as long as you farm a little and don't get sent back all the time. The immense amount of AD you will have after two Doran's Blades and this Pickaxe is gonna be enough to start hurting your laning opponent fairly strongly, since both your basic attacks and your Leap Strike's damage is severely increased. More importantly, it builds into one of your most needed items for Jax: Bilgewater Cutlass.||___||___|
|___||___|| Bilgewater Cutlass is your bread-and-butter item for Jax, followed up by Hextech Gunblade later in the game. If you use it well, it will make many things such a wonderful breeze for you - engaging, ganking mid-lane, disengaging, etc.
By activating this skill after engaging, whether in lane or through a gank, you can stick to your target extremely well, and get off a few easier basic attacks, before your Counter Strike goes off. You can also wait and see if your opponent turns on you, thinking they will win the fight - in this case, you can wait with using it, take the fight for a bit, see how it goes, and disengage by using Bilgewater Cutlass and then Leap Strike'ing away from the fight, leaving it difficult for your opponent to follow easily.
||___||This is a choice that you more or less have to make every single game that you play Jax in. Basically, you want to ask yourself a few key questions:
Do they have more than a decent amount of crowd control?: If the answer is Yes, then you must go Mercury's Treads.
Is there a majority of physical damage or magical damage?: Look at how the game is currently going - is either their AD Carry or AP Carry in the lead in their lane? Also, based on general knowledge of the game, you can determine where the most of their damage will come from. Choose between Ninja Tabi and Mercury's Treads based on this knowledge.
If you are in doubt, you should simply go for Mercury's Treads, as they are the better option in the majority of scenarios.
|___||___|| Phage is an amazing item, as it gives you both survivability and damage output, adding on top of your already high amount of AD. You want to buy Ruby Crystal in front of Long Sword, since the health, together with your two Doran's Blades, will make you quite healthy at this stage of the game, and make it easier to win fights, rather than the 10 AD will.
This item is mainly strong because of its passive, of which will help you stick to your target a lot better. This combined with Bilgewater Cutlass will make engaging in lane wonderful for you.
Note that you do have to option to go for Sheen instead of Phage at this point, if you feel very safe in lane, and aren't scared of getting ganked - it will increase your damage by a great deal, but you will lack the added survivability from Phage.
|___||___|| Guinsoo's Rageblade is an item which usefulness can be discussed, however I find that it is considerably strong, due to it's most recent change, giving it another passive, which you can read about in the tooltip. This new passive, makes fighting so much stronger, and especially once you acquire Hextech Gunblade along with it - these two items together, granted you just went below 50 % health, will grant you 20 % lifesteal and 30 % spellvamp, which is absolutely amazing - and the best part is, that it doesn't disappear based on an amount of seconds - it lasts until you are out of combat, and that is just wonderful, since you will want to be in combat for as long as possible - without getting focused down and dying of course - until you are too low to fight, at which point you can back off and Guinsoo's Rageblade has done its purpose.
Surely, this item can be replaced, but it's definitely strong, and I personally have had major succes with it.
|___||___||An all-round amazing item, which has its cost, but which is also definitely worth it, since all of its three passives are simply awesome for Jax. It gives a lot of base stats to go around in all areas, but the Sheen-like effect is definitely the more important part of this item - the added MS and the passive Slow are also obviously very strong.||___||___|
|___||___||This enchantment is simply stronger than the others, even though the others can have their uses. The momentarily movement speed, basically working throughout a whole fight by constantly using the likes of Leap Strike and Empower as well as the Grandmaster's Might procs, is going to make you have a steady MS-buff throughout the entire game, after acquiring it.
Other choices include Enchantment: Alacrity and Enchantment Homeguard.
The Homeguard enchantment can be very good, if you and your team are behind, and are getting pressured - being able to port back and be instantly healed and out of spawn quickly can be very valuable for you and your team.
|___||___|| Hextech Gunblade is another one of Jax'es key items, since it gives him sustain through both his basic attacks as well as his abilities. Especially his ultimate Grandmaster's Might and it's procs is what makes this so amazing, since he will benefit from both the lifesteal and the spellvamp in all stages of a fight.
Along with these wonderful attributes comes then one heck of an amazing active ability, with a huge range (considering what it does for you), which you can of course activate - if you wish it - while Leap Strike'ing to a target. You can of course, much like Bilgewater Cutlass, use it to disengage from an enemy, by using the active ability on them, and find a way to escape afterwards.
|___||___||Even after the recent nerf of the Armor and MR nerfs on Guardian Angel, it's still an amazing item, merely because of its passive.
All you need to remember about this item is that you shouldn't take it for granted - it's easy to think that you're the king of the world, and dive in without your teammates' consent, thinking: "I will just revive again, NP!", but if you do something like that, it's only a waste of the item's passive, as well as the fact that it will most likely get you killed anyhow, since if the opponents get you down alone, they will followingly stand over you like vultures just waiting to finish you off, as you are about to revive.
The item is amazing, because it visibly tells the enemy that they should think twice about focusing you in an all-out teamfight - this gives you a bit more freedom in fights, since they don't want to waste everything on someone who will just revive and continue afterwards - unless of course they catch you alone, as described before.
|___||___||This item is amazing for nullifying absolute Key-CC, and allows you to go about your business when it otherwise wasn't an option. This is great for countering vital CC's such as Amumu's Curse of the Sad Mummy, Galio's Idol of Durand as well as supresses such as Warwick's Infinite Duress and Malzahar's Nether Grasp.
As this is ideally the item you'll be getting last, you should always get Quicksilver Sash in front of the B.F. Sword, as it is the active of the item that is the key factor of the item itself.
Note, that if you do face a team with Key-CC such as the examples above, you should in most cases want to get Quicksilver Sash much earlier, to counter those abilities before you eat too many of them unhindered, so to speak. You should however still finish it last, as it is sort of a luxury item, which isn't worth the upgrade until you have nothing else to spend your gold on.
|___||___||Nashor's Tooth is a brilliant substitute for Mercurial Scimitar, if you don't feel you need the MR, nor the active from it, since Nashor's Tooth gives Jax basically everything that is vital to him. AP, AS and CDR are all things that are amazing for Jax. The AP will make your Grandmaster's Might procs stronger, the AS will make them occur more often and increase overall damage output, and the CDR will allow you to increase your mobility with Leap Strike and amazingly increase your DPS with Empower. This item is amazing for Jax and can easily replace Mercurial Scimitar if you feel the game is going slightly your way - or if you just wager the damage higher than the Quicksilver-active.||___|
|___||___|| Zephyr is a fairly strong item, which gives you a lot of useful stats. I deem that this item can be useful to go along with Ninja Tabi, since by choosing Tabi over Mercury's Treads you remove the Tenacity from your build, which you can then get back with this item, of course alongside a little CDR and a rather big bit of MS and AS, which are all stats that will benefit Jax greatly.
I have personally not gotten to test this item out much, but I definitely see the potential in it, so feel free to try it out; I'm certain that it is a viable choice.
|___||___|| Ravenous Hydra is another item I haven't gotten into testing yet, but I will definitely say, that if you can maintain the Active ability of it, then I think it's a nice little addition to give you some extra damage every 10 seconds, whether you be fighting head to head or chasing after a victim (seeing as how you can managed to activate it right after landing a Leap Strike, and follow up with a basic attack as well).
The AoE on basic attacks itself, will make pushing a lot faster, as well as clearing jungle camps, but in teamfights, I'm not so sure how effective it will be, since you will want to primarily focus certain targets - then again, there can be those fights where all five champions on each team are just bundled up in one place, at which point it of course can be very strong to have with you, especially utilizing the Active.
|___||___|| Blade of the Ruined King is yet another item that I've been doubting the viability on, on Jax, and also one of which I have not yet tested the use of much on him. My general thought of this item is that it's in theory a little bit silly to have two similar slowing items with you, and since Hextech Gunblade should not be replaced what so ever, I'm doubting if it would be strong. My main thought though is that it's quite amazing in the way that; instead of just slowing the enemy target, you steal their MS, similar to Malphite's Seismic Shard. Besides, having both, might be a strength, as you can keep enemies slowed for a longer time, which is especially strong, if you're hunting down a prime target.
Other than this of course, there's the added sustain both passively, as a stat and a unique Passive, and through the Active itself.
The unique Passive is perhaps also one of the item's great strengths, since it will allow you to deal a significant amount of damage against people who like to stack health items, as well as healing you very efficiently, based on your opponent's maximum health. I can see this being very strong when facing champion like Dr. Mundo or just generally off-tanks who like to build Warmog's Armor and/or Frozen Mallet and the alike.
|___||___|| Maw of Malmortius is another AD/MR hybrid item, which could be fairly okay strong, but in my eyes, I think that Mercurial Scimitar has the upper hand here, since it gives more AD and more MR, and has it's Active ability to save you from Key-CC.
On the other hand, Maw of Malmortius gives you a neat little magic damage shield, which can potentially also manage to save your life, especially from built in DoTs like Teemo's Toxic Shot, Brand's Blaze and Darius' Hemorrhage. This doesn't mean you should definitely get this item when facing one of these champions, as it is situational whether it will help you survive, or not help you what so ever. This is why an Active (self-controlled) ability such as Mercurial Scimitar is stronger, since you have the power to decide whether the item will be useful or not.
|___||___||Randuin's Omen is a great defensive item, that is perfect to get, if the enemy has a fed AD Carry, since you will then want to focus them down even more than usual, and if they fight back, they will simply get slightly slowed by the passive of Randuin's Omen, as well as of course having their AS reduced by a decent bit.
Additionally of course, you can Leap Strike- Counter Strike them, and as soon as the stun ends, you can use Randuin's Omen's Active ability to slow them down, and make them easier to kill.
|___||___|| Banshee's Veil is another item which's usefulness can wary, but it's definitely not unviable. One of its weaknesses is that it doesn't offer Jax anything in terms of damage output, which has otherwise been something that only his boots and Guardian Angel haven't done so far.
The great thing about this item is however that you can engage, and block the first ability you get hit by - it doesn't matter if it's a normal ability or an ultimate ability. This is very useful if for example your team gets engaged by an Amumu (assuming you're not the one getting hit by an eventual Bandage Toss), you can completely ignore his ultimate Curse of the Sad Mummy and go about your business anyhow - much like what Mercurial Scimitar does for you. Again, however, it must be said, that the Active ability of Mercurial Scimitar is quite a bit stronger, since Banshee's Veil can be popped by something as useless as an AD-Carry Ezreal's Essence Flux or the alike, whereas Mercurial Scimitar is completely controlled by you.
|___||___|| Frozen Mallet is definitely a strong item, which gives you a lot of bulk with you, but the main problem here is that the passive slow doesn't stack with Trinity Force (which we don't want to discard), as well as the fact that the item brings very little damage output into our build as per compared to many of the other viable items above.
In conclusion, I'm not saying Frozen Mallet is a horrible choice, but it's definitely not of the most viable items for Jax. The only reason it is in this list is because it adds a far stronger sticking-power than Trinity Force ever can.
Lane Matchups (Not begun)
This chapter is not done, and info about the different matchups will be added over time!
Once I have added a few, I will make an overview that shows what champions have had notes added!
Also note that the difficulty-levels for each champion are subject to change based on future testing (through scrimming)
- 25-12-2012 - Guide is begun
- 03-01-2012 - Guide airs for the first time
~ Finishing my "Lane Matchups"-chapter over time.
~ Taking advices recieved into advisement and improving guide based on advice given.
Thanks a bunch for reading my guide! I hope you enjoyed everything you stumbled upon, and if there was anything at all, either something you think I did wrongly, or if there was some sort of graphical part of the guide that you didn't enjoy, I would love for you to leave a comment in the comment section, telling me about it!! :)
I would like to thank several people who helped me both directly and indirectly;
- LaCorpse, as I took inspiration in the wonderful design of her Ahri Guide.
- Lichtelwichtel (IGN: "Iell Narthan") for, in the future, helping me by scrimming through the different champions that I will add notes about in my "Lane Matchups"-chapter.
- IGN: Sedeac, for helping me through discussing different guide aspects and items' viability on Jax with me.